Do you ever walk through your studio door and say “thank you”? I’ve been thinking about this as part of my “honouring” series on this blog and how my art practise can be a way of thanking (by using them) …. those items I use to create. I think most of us have an abundance of tools and supplies for making art, whether its fabric, paint, thread or paper, we are generally never short of something to grab.
I am fortunate to have plenty of supplies to make art and I know that someone had to manufacture the paint, design the fabrics, pack the products and staff the shops. Those many layers of hidden people are supporting us in our creating and making it possible to be the best artists we can be!
By cleaning and organizing my art materials after each session I am creating a respectful environment for tools and bring a sense of order and discipline in my artistic practice. I like to take a few minutes at the end of my art session to do a light clean up, nothing serious but making sure some items are in their spaces ready for the next day. And by taking the time to tidy up, I show respect for the tools that help my creativity.
How else might we honour our supplies? We can pass on items and tools when we no longer need them, I don’t make the art I made 20 years ago. My tastes, influences and focus has changed and evolved, my printed commercial fabrics have disappeared, given to friends and groups that can use them for their art. My stamp making supplies were given to the art department at a local school, but I changed my mind about getting rid of my gel plates and have approached them with renewed excitement.
Let’s face it, we generally spend too much money on our “stash”, we tend to over-buy and haven’t we seen some tool or supply at a workshop and rush to buy it? I know I’m very guilty of that! But in seeking high-quality materials and investing in durable tools we can improve the quality of our artwork but also demonstrate a commitment to valuing the tools we rely on. This investment reflects an appreciation for our tools and underscores our desire to produce the best possible art.
Have you been on Facebook or IG, showing your art and viewers are asking how is it done? what did you buy that colour? or how did you apply it? By sharing our knowledge with others we are fostering a sense of community and encouraging the appreciation of those wonderful tools and supplies.
How do you honour those tools you have in your studio? Remember a few years back when Marie Kondo taught us the value of tidying up and to part ways with the objects that fail to “spark joy”? Did you know that Kondo also worked as a Shinto shrine assistant? Shinto faith believes that all things, people, nature and even inanimate objects are imbued with Kami - spirit - and by treating these items with respect we are honouring and appreciating their existence. https://www.bustle.com/p/how-shinto-influenced-marie-kondos-konmari-method-of-organizing-15861445
I particularly like this sentence: “Just like the gentle shake we use to wake someone up, we can stimulate our belongings by physically moving them, exposing them to fresh air and making them ‘conscious’” Every year I sort through my entire studio, shelves, boxes, buckets and those crevasses where the unknown ”lurks”! Doing this reacquiants me with their existence, sparks fresh ideas, sort out the unneeded and extraneous to my art practise.
Perhaps its also time to thank and honour all those items in my studio for inspiring and imbueing “me” into my art.
By the way…did you know that Hari Kuyo is a Japanese Buddhist ritual honouring needles. Hari means needle, while kuyo means memorial service. Since ancient times in Japan, people have believed that souls dwell inside all objects, and memorial services are held not only for the deceased, but also for animals and worn out objects such as brushes, combs, dolls, knives, and of course needles.
There is even a poem to honour our humble needles:
In Praise of the Needle: https://trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/texts-films-customs-and-event/poems/praise-of-the-needle
And...just to let you know, I have a new series of work on my website that is inspired by the time I spent in Spain this spring: https://www.susanpm.com/casco-vello-sales-page/
The photos on this post are some of the art pieces for sale.